Thabitha Khumalo - "I am a woman aged 38 years and single. I work for Cold Storage Commission and have worked for 10 years. I come from a family of 2 girls and 2 boys. I am the eldest and sole breadwinner. I have a daughter who is 17 years and doing her lower sixth. I am the National Education Co-ordinator in the Federation of Food Union. Married women do not participate in union activities, they believe unmarried women should be activists, and believe they are prostitutes because they usually talk to men. But in a true working environment married women and single women?s problems are the same. What do you say????? Women come-up when they are issues to be solved. My hobbies are reading, travelling, sewing and meeting people."
Women and Global Food Industry International Study Circle Project october 1999 - march 2000
Female trade unionists assaulted in Zimbabwe
By Lance Guma
12 July 2005
Government attempts to remove the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union leadership erupted into a violent attack on two top female union members. Thabitha Khumalo and Phoebe Vhareta, members of the Women's Advisory Council were assaulted during a meeting at the Quality International Hotel in Harare. Twenty hired thugs led by Kumbirai Kudenga burst into the room and demanded Khumalo and Vhareta leave the meeting. The assaults were then carried out.
Khumalo had to be taken to the Avenues Clinic for treatment while Vhareta sustained minor injuries. Although the ZCTU previously secured a court order barring interference with its activities, the order cited only two individuals, Nicholas Mazarura and Langton Mugeji, the ring leaders. So to get around the court order the two are alleged to have recruited the services of Kudenga and a few hired thugs to do the dirty work for them.
ZCTU spokesman, Mlamleli Sibanda says government has failed to mobilise workers against their union and hence is resorting to violence.
Sibanda says outside the unions congress government has no chance of effecting a leadership change and their efforts will prove in vain. The state controlled Herald newspaper has also launched an aggressive campaign to discredit the ZCTU for allegedly abandoning the workers and meddling in politics.
Relations between government and the ZCTU soured when the labour body successfully lobbied the Congress of South African Trade Unions to picket the border in protests at human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. This has precipitated the current onslaught on the ZCTU leadership.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news